Wadena County Board Election: Morthberg plans to make Wadena County a 'business sanctuary'

The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. At the close of that election, four residents will be elected to the board. Six candidates are running for the four seats. They include incumbents Murlyn Kreklau, Jon Kangas and Bill Stearns and newcomers Gene Morthberg, Don Burns and Ron Noon.


WADENA — First-time candidate for Wadena County Commission, Gene Morthberg, hopes to move away from accepting the status quo and plans to create a place for businesses to thrive if he's elected in the upcoming election.
Read on to find out more about Morthberg.

Gene Morthberg.jpg
Gene Morthberg
Contributed photo

Tell us about yourself including education, occupation, family, interests, hobbies, etc.
After graduating from M-State here in Wadena having studied computer networking, I like a lot of people still do today, could see no real economic benefit to remaining here in Wadena County. Along with my little family, we moved away. After much convincing, the decision was made to move back in 2018. Since then, while I have seen much of what makes Wadena a truly wonderful place to live, I have also seen a lot of what holds it back.
It's those things that hold Wadena back that I wish to tackle. For example, as a computer geek, I know that it isn’t that hard to implement the broadcasting of county board meetings via the internet, and as a political geek I know that when a government official says such an issue needs to be “studied” it’s nothing more than a stalling tactic, just look at how long the Highway 10 expansion has been “studied’
When I’m not working (currently a truck driver and loving it) I enjoy riding my moped while researching which “big boy” bike I should get for next summer.
I start each day with two simple goals. Learn one new thing and do one nice thing for another.

What qualities do you possess that will or do make you a good county board member?
I think the biggest advantage I have over Mr. Sterns is I don’t fall into the “failure equals success” narrative that the residents are fed from our local politicians as well as this paper for that matter. While I am more than happy to celibate the good things that are happening here in Wadena, I am more than willing to not only acknowledge the issues that are often ignored but also work towards meaningful solutions to them.
I believe that hiring for county positions should be done based on experience and merit and not just another way to grant political favors to my friends.
I believe that Wadena County is uniquely positioned to enjoy an economic boom it just needs the right leadership to push for it and guide it so that all the residents of Wadena can see the benefits.
I believe Wadena County will in the next four years face many tough challenges that “playing politics” will not solve.
I work hard to see issues from all points of view, not just my own.
If I don’t understand an issue or a point of view, I am willing to listen and learn.
I want to represent the average resident of Wadena.

Early registration must be completed online or received by mail no later than 20 days prior to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

What would you like to see done to make Wadena County a better place to live?
For a county to truly thrive there are three important numbers to look at: Income, Life, and taxes.
Wadena has one of the lowest income levels in Minnesota.
Wadena has one of the lowest life expectancies in Minnesota.
Wadena has one of the highest property tax rates in Minnesota.
Basically, if you chose to live in Wadena under the current conditions, you have a higher chance of being poor, dying younger, and being over-taxed along the way.
We can build all the fancy hospitals we want to but, if people can't afford the medical care offered life expectancy will stay low.
Bill Stern's plan to as he put it “shake things up” by encouraging other poorly performing counties to blame the folks in St. Paul will not lower your tax burden.
We can look the other way as money is wasted by our local leaders either elected or appointed but then our property taxes will stay high it's just that simple.
Higher property taxes make it less likely for a new business to come in and help raise income.

Are there any specific issues that are of particular concern to you?
I want to create Minnesota’s 1st Business Sanctuary County. Many counties including this one passed resolutions supporting the 2nd amendment declaring they will not enforce overbearing gun laws. Yet when ordered to close almost all businesses bringing our local economy to a halt and ordering people to stay in their homes, those same politicians stayed silent waiting to see how things played out before speaking on the issue.
My proposal expands on that idea declaring that Wadena County will not support nor enforce any attempt by a Governor to act as a dictator and shut down businesses and restrict the freedom of movement of its citizens. This should never be allowed to happen again, and this would be a good first step in that direction as well as being a catalyst in attracting new businesses to our county.
My other top priority would be to create more transparency in our county government this would include not just studying the broadcasting of county meetings on the internet but doing so as soon as possible. Being that we don’t have a diverse set of local media options we need this to allow Wadena residents better access to what is happening with their tax money.


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